Auction 61 - Rare and Important Items

anuscript - Prayer for Easy Labor for Napoleon's Wife, the Empress - By Rabbi Refael Yeshaya Azulai, Rabbi of Ancona, the Chida's Son - Ancona (Italy), 1810/1

Opening: $1,200
Sold for: $2,125
Including buyer's premium
Manuscript (two leaves), prayer for easy labor for the Empress Marie Louisa, Napoleon's wife, by R. Refael Yeshaya Azulai son of the Chida, Rabbi of Ancona. [Ancona (Italy), 1810/1].
Italian script with corrections and additions in Italian and Sephardi script.
The manuscript opens with "A prayer arranged by R. Refael Yeshaya Azulai, for the Empress wife of our Master the mighty King the great Emperor, in the time of her pregnancy. G-d should heed our prayers and sustain her during labor that she should bear with ease and tranquility without any pain, Amen".
The scribe left an empty space for the name of the Emperor and his wife and in a few places, he wrote in these spaces: "She [Plonit] who is called" [acronym], or just "Plonit". Subsequently, the name of Empress Maria Luigia (Italian) was added in the space between the lines in several places. The name of Napoleon, with honorary titles in Italian (in Hebrew letters), was added in two places.
Following the abovementioned prayer are the prayer HaNoten Teshu'a LaMelachim for Napoleon and his family [with the names integrated into the text by the scribe], and the prayer Mi SheBerach for "this holy congregation".
Corrections and erasures in several places with several revisions in Sephardi script and another inscription on the last page, also in Sephardi script: "Prayer on behalf of the Empress". Possibly, these corrections and/or inscription are in the handwriting of R. Refael Yeshaya Azulai himself.
In 1810, Napoleon Bonaparte married the Archduchess Marie Louise, daughter of Archduke Francis of Austria, Emperor of Austria, after divorcing his first wife who was unable to give him an heir. On March 20, 1811, Maria Louisa gave birth to the crown prince, Napoléon François Charles Joseph Bonaparte, known as Napoleon II.
R. Refael Yeshaya Azulai (1743-1826) was born in Jerusalem, the eldest son of his illustrious father Rabbi Chaim Yosef David Azulai, the Chida. A great Torah scholar, he was a rabbi, posek and leader of Italian Jewry in his times. Some of his halachic responsa were printed in his father's books, who honored and esteemed him and always mentioned him with epithets of love ("my dear son", "my firstborn son, the perfect great chacham", "the light of my eyes", "friend of my soul", etc.). In 1785, after the death of R. Avraham Yisrael Rabbi of Ancona, the community leaders applied to the Chida and he hinted that his son Rabbi Refael Yeshaya is suitable for this position. The latter served many years as Rabbi of Ancona until his death on the 9th of Shevat 1826 (he lived 83 years, like his father). He was greatly honored at his death and was mourned by his congregation for a long time thereafter [for further information see the book by Meir Benayahu on the Chida, pp. 476-487].
[4] pages. 26 cm. Fair condition. Stains and wear. Tears and worming affecting text in some places. Folding marks.